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A $6 million Southern California home used by Black Lives Matter leaders has been shrouded in secrecy, with a new report putting the organization in damage control mode.
According to New York magazinethe 6,500 square foot building known to BLM leaders as “Campus” was purchased for cash in October 2020, with funds donated to the Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation.
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“Our angle – must be to deflate ownership of the property,” an internal BLM memo said, according to the report, after the New York Magazine reporter asked them about the home. This suggestion was one of many responses given, along with others such as “Can we kill the story?”
The same memo would have included bullet points on Campus, such as how it’s used by BLM’s “cultural arm”, and could be used as a “house of influence” where artists can create content, and as a “shelter”. The memo also reportedly acknowledged “[h]oles” in what he called “the security story” as the house would be used for publicly available YouTube videos.
Two days after the reporter contacted BLMGNF, board member Shalomyah Bowers emailed a statement saying BLMGNF had purchased the property “with the intention that it be used as housing and space studio for recipients of the Black Joy Creators Fellowship,” a program that was reportedly announcing the following day that it would provide “recording resources and dedicated space for black creatives to launch content online and in real life focused on on abolition, justice healing, urban agriculture and food justice, pop culture, activism and politics”.
“It’s a waste of resources,” Tory Russell, an activist based in Ferguson, Missouri, told New York Magazine. Russell reportedly tried to raise money for a community center in Ferguson and tried to get the BLMGNF to contribute.
BLMGNF had just received $66.5 million before the purchase of the house, raised after the death of George Floyd. Two weeks after the band received the money, Dyane Pascall purchased the property. Pascall, the report says, manages the finances of an LLC headed by Patrisse Cullors, who at the time was executive director of BLMGNF.
Pascall then reportedly transferred ownership of the home to another LLC set up by law firm Perkins Coie. It was after ownership officially changed hands that Black Lives Matter began using it.
Two months after the purchase, BLMGNF obtained tax-exempt status from the IRS, but although that means they must now reveal donor and expense information, they reportedly failed to submit the necessary forms. in 2020 or 2021.
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Bowers claimed in his statement that the organization “always planned” to list the home in the disclosures to be filed this year. She said the building is not used as anyone’s home and was purchased through limited liability companies for liability protection.
Fox News contacted BLMGNF to comment on the New York Magazine report, but they did not immediately respond.
The California home isn’t the only expensive Black Lives Matter property. BLM Canada announced in 2021 that it was buying a mansion to use as a black community center in Toronto. Reports later showed that public records mentioned the purchase included $6.3 million donated to a nonprofit created by people such as Janaya Khan, who is married to Cullors.
Two BLM Toronto executives left the organization, citing the management of the group’s finances in their resignation letters.
“We wrote this because our many attempts to air our concerns were met with denial, gaslighting and a refusal to acknowledge the claims of responsibility,” they said. “We were told that concerns about financial transparency and community accountability were just rumours, ‘it’s okay’ and whispers from so-called ‘counter-organizers’.”
According to New York Magazine, Campus has barely been used to produce content, despite that being one of its stated purposes. A video produced there had nothing to do with BLM, but was a video of Cullors preparing a peach cobbler as part of a series planned for his personal YouTube channel. It is now listed as private.
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Another video, from May 2021, featured Alicia Garza and Melina Abdullah, leaders of the Cullors and BLM, seated on the terrace commemorating the first anniversary of Floyd’s death. In it, Cullors allegedly lamented how right-wing media targeted her and the organization, specifically pointing to a New York Post story about how she spent an estimated $3 million on four homes.
Cullors quit days after recording the video, which is also now listed as private.